By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Andy Reid shouldn’t have coached this year. He should have taken 2012 off, handed the reins to someone else and walked away. No one would have blamed him on August 6 if that’s what Reid decided. Seeing the longest-tenured coach in Eagles’ history in different settings, seeing him interact with people outside of his Eagles’ world, he wears a genuine smile and is engaging.
Inside the crucible of Eagles’ world, his face grows weathered, his once intense eyes have softened, his disposition seems to lean toward someone going through the motions.
After burying his son Garrett on August 7, Reid took no time to mourn. No one would have blamed him if he did. Instead, Reid plunged right back into his work, running the Eagles, a 16-hour-a-day job over seven months, into Eagles’ world, where every move is dissected and scrutinized.
Now he finds himself stuck. He’s not about to quit. Nor will Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie fire him right now. After 14 years, after producing 11 winning season in his previous 13, and winning more games than any other Eagles’ coach in history, Reid seems beat down, worn out. And though he wears the look and says the right things publicly, “We have to keep battling, we have to keep teaching, we have to get this right,” his heart just doesn’t seem to be in it.
Losing with a team Reid seems to have lost exacerbates it.
“I can’t tell you I’m the happiest guy. I don’t like to lose and that’s an understatement,” Reid admitted during his day-after press conference trying to pick up the scraps from Washington’s 31-6 victory, marking the sixth-straight time the Eagles have lost, and also marking the longest losing streak Reid has ever had. “I’m going to make sure that I continue to teach the fundamentals and try to do the things the right way, that I think are the right way.”
Reid, however, doesn’t feel as if he’s lost this team. But did openly say something quite stark beyond his usual coaches speak—that maybe, just maybe his voice and leadership has grown shaky.
“Listen, I look at everything,” Reid said. “I’m not telling you I don’t look at that. I think we’re not winning football games, so I take that responsibility and since I’m in that leadership spot, then my leadership right now isn’t good enough. I’ve got to do a better job there and make sure that we play better.”
As the time winds down on what appears to be Reid’s last season, there also has to be another looming concern on the horizon. Who will be Lurie’s go-to guy be in selecting the Eagles’ next head coach? Joe Banner played an important role in the organization, before moving aside for Howie Roseman, whose football acumen has to be seriously questioned, considered the lack of talent on this team.
The Eagles are slowly sinking back into the abyss of Rich Kotite and Ray Rhodes. Remember those times? The Eagles were a combined 65-62-1 during those eight years, averaging 8.1 victories a season. During Reid’s first 13 seasons, the Eagles averaged 9.6 victories a season.
Up front, publicly, Reid remains adamant, still believing in this team. He’s not about to quit.
“I’m standing in front of the team and telling them these are the things we need to do, one of which is to continue to battle,” Reid said. “So, I think that’d be a cop-out. That’s not how I see things. That’s not the way I’m wired. We’re going to keep battling and do it as a team. I’m not going to tell the guys one thing and then do the other. [Lurie] is a competitive guy and nobody wants to win more than Jeffrey. I would tell you he’s disappointed. I would tell you rightly so. He feels the same way we do that we’re letting people down in this city and so on.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.